LAHORE - As the National Assembly (NA) resolution on ‘Janoobi Punjab’ is likely to land in Punjab Assembly in the next few days, the Opposition in Punjab Assembly is flexing its muscles to confront the PML-N in the likelihood of latter’s objection to the resolution.
The NA resolution calls upon the Punjab Assembly to present a bill in the Assembly to start the constitutional procedure to amend the constitution in accordance with article 239(4) of the constitution for creating what it calls ‘the province of Janoobi Punjab’.
“We would wait for two weeks or so for the NA resolution to be tabled in the Punjab Assembly. After this, the Opposition would requisition a special session of the Assembly to force the Treasury to table the resolution and allow discussion over it”, the PPP’s Deputy Parliamentary Leader in Punjab Assembly Shaukat Mehmood Basra told TheNation.
The PPP leader further told this scribe that in case the PML-N opposed the NA resolution, the federal government would then amend the constitution to end the role of the provincial assembly concerned for making of a new province. He claimed that the ruling coalition had the required two-thirds majority in both houses of the Parliament to do the needful.
Giving more details about what the PPP and its allies intended to do in the near future, Basra said that after this amendment, the government would table another bill in the National Assembly seeking division of Punjab into two provinces. Now, he added, they would not be required to send the bill in the Punjab Assembly for approval in presence of new constitutional amendments (proposed).
He added that there is also a possibility that the two amendments are passed simultaneously through 21st amendment in the constitution. It may be recalled here that as per the existing constitutional position, if a new province is to be created in any province, the Parliament (National Assembly and Senate) will have to pass a bill with two-thirds majority of the total membership which will then be sent to the Provincial Assembly concerned for adoption, again with the two-thirds majority, and then the President will assent the bill.
The concerned Article 239 (4) of the Constitution reads: “A bill to amend the Constitution which would have the effect of altering the limits of a province shall not be presented to the President for assent unless it has been passed by provincial assembly of that province by the votes of not less than two-thirds of its total membership”. It would be relevant to state here that PML-N has already blocked three resolutions moved by the joint opposition from being presented in the Punjab Assembly on the subject.
The PML-N maintains that according to the Constitution, the Provincial Assembly concerned has to approve a bill and not a resolution already passed by the Parliament to create new province.